Russell Pearce Denied: AG's Office Says No Corporate Contributions for Pearce's Anti-Recall Committee
More bad news for state Senate President Russell Pearce.
One day before the historic announcement by the Arizona Secretary of State's Office that the Pearce recall will go before the voters of Legislative District 18, Arizona Solicitor General David Cole informed Pearce that recall committees cannot accept corporate or union contributions.
Cole also shot down an attempt by Pearce to penalize Citizens for a Better Arizona.
Pearce and his lawyer had asserted that the pro-recall committee had to abide by the same financial reporting guidelines as ballot measure committees.
The Solicitor General advised Pearce that state law doesn't back up that contention. You can read Cole's opinion, written on behalf of the Arizona Attorney General's Office, here.
Pearce's lawyer Lisa Hauser had made the same arguments to State Elections Director Amy Bjelland, who in turn, rejected those arguments.
Following this, Pearce penned a missive to Attorney General Tom Horne on Legislative letterhead, asking for an opinion on both issues regarding Pearce's dire straits. (Horne recused himself from the matter, passing it off to Cole, who was appointed by Horne.)
And of course, Pearce was denied. What is it about the law that he doesn't understand?
However, the opinion from Cole contained a concession of sorts.
He pointed out that because of the U.S. Supreme Court's notorious Citizens United ruling, "a corporation or union cannot be prevented from making donations to a recall committee that does not coordinate with an individual who intends to run for the targeted office."
Which means independent expenditure committees can take corporate or union funds, as long as there is no communication between that committee or the candidate.
What good that does Pearce is debatable. Pearce is a puppet of corporate and out-of-state special interests, and these groups will rally to his defense and likely spend money to the extent it's allowed by state law.
But even the political hacks working with Pearce to challenge the recall have conceded that this campaign will require old fashioned door-to-door politicking. And Pearce will have to expend some shoe leather himself, something he has not had to do in many a moon.
All the signs and fliers and TV ads in the world will not guarantee him victory. Sure, all that may help him, but this is not some statewide or even countywide race. It's Pearce's own backyard, his own Mesa sandbox.
And if he cannot convince his neighbors to go to the polls for him on a day when there will be no other reason to do so 'cept for the recall, he is doomed. Even if the other name on the ballot is Mickey Mouse.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.